what does easter mean to you?

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. director of family ministry at st. edward's episcopal church. president of fistbump media, llc.

March 17, 2010


Source: The Barna Group (barna.org)

Easter is THE defining event in Christianity. Without Easter, Jesus was just another great teacher. But apparently some recent Barna research shows that many CHRISTIANS don’t fully understand the meaning or reason for this celebration. Uh… what?

  • So, what does Easter mean to you?
  • How do you celebrate it?
  • How does your celebration of Easter connect with the ‘reason for the season’?

Share your thoughts on these questions and/or the Barna research in the comments below, and you will be automatically entered to win one of seven copies of check out N.T. Wright‘s book The Challenge of Easter (courtesy of InterVarsity Press).


  1. Lorrie

    I know there are many Christians who do not like the term “easter”. I wonder if the question had been put using the words “resurrection day” if the results would have been different.

  2. Jeff Johnson

    It marks the ultimate statement by God that His love surpasses anything we can do to destroy it.

  3. Elise

    Because Jesus was raised from the dead, demonstrating His power over death and hell, I have the assurance that He can do the same for me. Because He chose to die for me, I have the assurance that He will. Good Friday was a demonstration of love like no other. Easter (or Resurrection Sunday, if you prefer; I do) is the power and triumph of love. It is beauty from ashes. Without it, there would be no hope. As Paul pointed out, if Christ was not raised, then we are to be pitied above all men. Jesus' Resurrection means EVERYTHING. It is such a magnificent promise of our life to come, that if it were not so, nothing in this world could ever come close to filling the vacuum of its absence. Our whole faith, our whole hope, hinges on it. And, like the rebirth of spring from the death of winter, like the emergence of the butterfly from the coffin of its cocoon, the transformative miracle that is the Resurrection is true and real. We can have confidence in it. We can stake everything on it. He is risen indeed.

  4. Debra R. Foxall

    Easter/Resurrection Sunday has to be connected with Good Friday in that Jesus died on the cross for my sin, (he took my punishment that I deserve) so that I could have a relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ, now & forever. He was raised from the dead on the third day, the first fruit of everlasting life.
    Always attend worhip service with a special meal at home. When my daughter was young we always had an egg hunt and baskets filled with goodies. When I was young it always meant a new outfit with hats, gloves, purses and shoes, symbolizing “renewal”. Now that I'm older it means so much more spiritually. God is SO Good!

  5. rodneygilbuena

    for me, Easter as a day has a few meanings. . One being just another day. What i mean by that, Is it is a day God gave us. Just like Every 352 days in a calander year. THe day by itself is nothing. Just like Thanksgiving, and Christmas. They are all dates. What makes the days important or sanificant. Is what happened on those days. If you talk about easter as a day. nothing is sagnificant about it. If you talk about it a a event. Now that is a totally different aspect. in religiouse meaning. It is the one day of the year that to me. Is more important then his birth. i am not saying his birth is of no importance, For with out his birthm Thier would have been no death.
    What I am saying. The death and ressurection Of my personal saviour Jesus Christ. Is what had to happen. For me to be saved. With out the sheeding of blood. No mans sins are washed away. ANd with his blood my sins were washed clean. I know Jesus came to save the world. Yet one must come to understand. That if you do not personally except him. How can you be saved.
    So when it comes to easter. Like i said to me its just another day. It the actions of the son of God that is what I chearish and believe in. and I am thankful for. And everytime I am asked how am I today, I reply Im here. And to me, that is more important then good. For God my father gave me another day on Earth to be with my family.
    Easter is also a day of giving Chocolate bunnies and jelly beans. Its a sing that spring is here. That is the thinking of man. Taking God out of everything to make mioney of not to believe in soemting as people say. Does not exsist. That is Easter is,Is it not?? To most people in the workld yes it is. So easter as a day like I said is insagnificant. Its the event that God gave us on that day is what we must remember and celibrate.
    That is a day we should give Thanks, Give forgiveness, and TO ask for forgiveness, For no other day has shown so much love, Nor has it given us a example of a Fathers love over his chieldren. To send god himself down do die for you,Me, and the world. Knowing that nothing less then his blood would save his chieldren.

  6. PurplePenning

    These statistics always amaze — and usually sadden — me. Only 73% of “evangelicals” and 55% of “born again Christians” [from the research: “…people who said they have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today and who also indicated they believe that when they die they will go to Heaven because they had confessed their sins and had accepted Jesus Christ as their savior…”] can identify the resurrection as part of Easter? I'm surprised by the regional differences shown. People in the West are more likely to know that Easter = resurrection celebration? What happened to the Bible Belt?

  7. twistedxtian

    I love Easter. I love the memories of waking up as a kid and running around looking for hidden eggs throughout the house. I love that it meant Easter dinner where we'd get together as a family, and sometimes with friends, and have a big meal and celebrate in each others company.

    To me, Easter is a reminder of grace. Undeserved grace, yet freely given to all that would accept. It is a reminder of the sacrifice that God made, and that if he could give up his son, what am I doing complaining about the minor sacrifices I make? It is a reminder that someone out there loves me unconditionally. Always. Forever.

    Easter is my favorite holiday of the year. And I can't wait until my son is old enough so that I can share with him the joy this holiday should bring.

  8. Debbie

    I, too, know a number of Christians who don't use the term “Easter” and wonder if they would have answered differently if “Resurrection Sunday” had been used. Still, sounds like a great book since the resurrection of Jesus is so important.

  9. nickgill

    Easter is the day the new creation began in earnest. It was just a rumor until He showed up, risen in power.

  10. Frank Purcell

    As last year I will be deleting those Facebook “friends” who still refer to Easter as Zombie Jesus Day. But at least this meme among the mockers keeps alive some memory of what the story is — that Jesus not only “appeared” to confirm his message, but brought his crucified human flesh to the right hand of the Father, that this goes beyond any Pagan myth.

  11. guntis66

    As for Christian, Easter means death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It means that God has launched new creation and we can enter Kingdom of Heaven/God. Usually I celebrate it with other church members. We have special worship meeting. This year maybe we will also have Eucharist.

  12. Jon Seger

    This year, my wife and I are doing our family devotions centered around the Gospel to prepare our hearts for Easter. We are reading “Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross” by Nancy Guthrie.

  13. Michelle Knight

    Easter has always seemed like a celebration of the initiation of a new age. Jesus, raised from the dead, shows the first of an eternity of victories over death and proclaims to people everywhere, “take heart, for I have overcome the world.” I celebrate the dawn of this era and eagerly anticipate its consummation.

  14. JJ

    Easter, for me, is a time of celebration, a time that I specifically remember the burial and subsequent resurrection. And I can know that because of this covenantal sacrifice I know that my salvation is signed and guaranteed.

  15. David Kotsonis

    Easter marks the salvation of humanity. On Great Friday, we mourn, because God Himself has been murdered. On Easter morning, we rejoice, because Christ is risen and humanity is free from our bondage to death, sin, and the devil. Hell's power is broken, and salvation is here for all who believe. Basically, the greatest day ever.

    It's kind of awesome. I am an Orthodox Christian, and I love the midnight service. It begins around 10-11, and then just before midnight all the lights in the church are extinguished, because our Lord is in the tomb. Then at midnight, the priest light a candle at the front of the church, and the congregation lights their own candles from that flame. We sing the Easter hymn (“Christ is risen from the dead, by death trampling on death, and to those in the tombs he granted life”) and celebrate a Divine Liturgy (the major Sunday worship service) before going home. Rather than another Liturgy during the morning, the service is centered around the reading of the passage in John's gospel where the risen Christ appears to the disciples in as many different languages as the congregation can muster, because Christ came for all tribes and nations.

    I'm looking forward to Pascha 🙂

  16. jaykub

    Easter has always been celebrated in my family since I can remember. We would always talk about the ressurrection of Jesus, and then afterwards would follow my favorite part the egg hunt. As I grew up not much changed, except for my understanding of who Christ is, and how awesome is the sovereignty of God. I now being a dad still have fun decorating the Easter eggs with my son, and hiding them from him for latter. I also enjoy just as much telling him stories about Jesus from his picture bible, and to be honest I think he enjoys that part just as much.

  17. @bibledude

    I love how you phrased this… “the first of an eternity of victories over death”! I think that is a pretty powerful pespective when thinking about what happened that day.

    By the way, you have been selected as one of the winners of the book! I'll need to connect with you to get an address to send it to.

  18. @bibledude

    I love doing seasonal devotions and studies like this! It is a great way to prepare your heart. I'm in a couples group righ now that has been doing something similar for a few weeks as we come up to celebrate Easter. It really helps to keep the focus on the right stuff.

    By the way, you have been selected as one of the winners of the book!

  19. @bibledude

    I was also blown away by these statistics! I think that it reveals a pretty big problem in the church today. A problem with people know taking ownership of their own knowledge in their religious beliefs. It is stuff like this that makes me think that we have a great deal of work to do in educating the church on it's own faith! How can we communicate to a 'lost and dying world' if we don't know the answers ourselves?

    By the way, you have been selected as one of the winners of the book!

  20. @bibledude

    I love to see family traditions passed down like this, especially as they pertain to the passing on of the truth! I just pray a blessing over you and your son (and all families that take the time to discuss the real reason for Easter) that the heritage of truth would run strong and deep.

    You have been selected as one of the winners of the free copy of the book! Thanks for participating!

  21. bondChristian

    I wondered if I really needed to write this post. But yes, I really did need to write it. “Christian” doesn't seem to mean Christian anymore.

    -Marshall Jones Jr.

  22. @bibledude

    Easter truly is a significant day… “Our whole faith, our whole hope, hinges on it.” I love that it more than symbolizes change, but it IS the event that allows it to happen in our lives! He IS risen, and so are we!!!

    You have been selected as one of the winners of the copy of the book! Thanks for commenting!

  23. Joshua

    I'd say without a proper understanding of Easter, one cannot be a proper Christian.

  24. @bibledude

    Agreed, but at the same time, a Christian probably should know what Easter is. Not knowing would be like having to call 'Christmas' the 'Birthday of Jesus'. It is something that is so essential to our faith, that not knowing is actually a little disturbing (at least to me)…

    Congrats! You've been selected as one of the winners of the book! Let me know if you review it for your blog! I'd love to link back to it, and share it with the book's publisher…

  25. @bibledude

    “It’s a crazy radical belief – I don’t deny that. But it’s the foundation for all things Christian. The rest of Christianity makes no sense without Jesus dying and coming back to life. That’s why it’s important to stay very clear on it.”

    Dude… I LOVED this part! You nailed it on that post…

    And, you've been selected as one of the winners of a copy of the book giveaway here. Congrats dude!

  26. bondChristian

    Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed it. And thank you for hosting the giveaway. I just received your email too.

    -Marshall Jones Jr.


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what does easter mean to you?

by Dan King time to read: 1 min